Springtime in Nymburk
The great thing about having a long winter is that you truly appreciate the beginning of spring. The last few weeks I have experienced not only an increase in temperatures, but also an increase in outdoor events here in Nymburk.
“A witch! A witch! A witch! We found a witch! We’ve got a witch! A witch! A witch! We have found a witch. May we burn her?” – Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Last week I attended what can only be described as a witch burning ceremony. Pálení čarodějnic (literally burning of the witches) is an old traditional spring festival held in the Czech Republic. During the evening of the last day in April, Czechs gather around a bonfire and burn the “witch” who was responsible for the long winter. The idea is that as the witch burns she takes the last of the winter cold with her. In Nymburk, the witch burning ceremony also included a Miss Carodějnice(witch) contest, music, sausages, and of course beer. This was mostly an event for young children, but many older children, teens, and adults came out and celebrated late into the night. I got eaten eaten alive by mosquitoes but I rather enjoyed seeing people dressed up in witch costumes and running around with broomsticks in between their legs!
In the Czech Republic, students celebrate May Day with an event called Majáles. Across the country, students organize open air festivals for their community in order to celebrate the arrival of spring. During the time of communism, this particular celebration was banned because the regime didn’t want students gathering. Nowadays, in the larger cities like Prague and Brno, Majales is a huge event with famous bands and thousands of people. However, in my town, this festival felt more like an outdoor school event. Students, teachers, parents, and community members all gathered together to eat, drink, and listen to music. I had a really nice time hanging out with my students and collegues and especially listening to my favorite band Artmosphere play.
Bohemia Brewery Bike ride
A while back I was invited to Postřižiny cyklootvírák, which is a bike ride sponsored by the brewery in my town. Despite the fact that I haven’t been on a bike in almost 8 months, I decided that the 43km (26 miles) bike ride would be a fun adventure. Although I’m not in tip-top shape, I am a PE teacher after all. I invited my friend Miriam along for the ride. The official route went from the brewery in Nymburk to the edge of Lysa Nad Labem and back. Along the way, there were four pubs in which the riders were supposed to stop in and collect stamps. Those riders who had all four stamps were eligible to receive a small prize for completion. Here’s how the event went with pictures:
9:00 – Getting ready to head to the brewery. Excited and ready to go!
9:30 – Decided that matching Postřižiny biking shirts would be the best way to identify each other in case we got seperated. Twins!
10:00 – Met up with my student who is the brewery manager at Postřižiny and his family. aafafsfs his daughter is so cuuute!
10:30 – Let the ride begin! Over 600 people came out to this event including several of my students.
(Original photo can be found at this site)
11:00 – Discovered that the ride wasn’t going to be paved the whole way through. Discovered that not all roads are made equal. Discovered that riding in the rain is not as fun as singing in the rain.
11:30 – Made it to our first pub!
Original photo can be found at this site
12:00 – Decided to take a detour and dry off/rejuvenate at Na Jitrach, an organic restaurant recommended to me by my students.
12:45 – Watched as an Englishman fed his dog steak because it was his 8th birthday
1:00 – Back on the road – Sun came out, jackets came off, music came on. Feeling good as we completed the last few legs of the race
3:15 – Finally reached Nymburk! Received a room temperature beer and beer opener upon completion!
We did it! Although the official distance was 43 km, Miriam and I really rode about 45km (≈ 28 miles) since we got lost a few time and took several detours. I am so proud of us and happy that we were able to finish the race in a timely manner. Surprisingly I’m not as sore as I thought I would be, but I will say that I will be taking it easy for the rest of the week. I always knew that Miriam was an excellent travel companion, but know I now she is an terrific bike buddy as well! Can’t wait to go on more bike rides in Nymburk and this summer in San Diego. Dad get ready!